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Gallup: GOP’s Favorable Rating Almost as Good as Democrats’

By: Thursday September 18, 2014 11:14 am

The favorable rating of the two major parties is now almost equal, according to Gallup. Democrats now have only a two point advantage. From Gallup:

Recent Trend of Favorable Ratings of Major U.S. Political Parties

One of the few things Democrats had going for them this election was even though President Obama is unpopular, the voters really disliked the Republican party. Unfortunately for Democrats, the Republican brand has steadily improved since the government shutdown and is now basically on par with theirs.

The poll even found that Republicans have the edge among Independents, with 36 percent of Independents having a favorable rating of Republicans, while 35 percent rate Democrats favorably.

The Aggregating of Polling Aggregators

By: Wednesday September 17, 2014 1:21 pm

The news site Vox has taken the new polling-focused approach to political coverage to a very meta place. They don’t aggregate the polls –  instead they are now aggregating the other poll aggregators. From Vox:

I’m strongly hopeful that other websites follow suit by start to create their own average of other sites’ polling averages, because then I can one up the entire news world with a planned new feature which will be an aggregate of aggregates of poll aggregators. It will be the most averagy average of other averages ever.

This does highlight, though, that attempts to predict elections with an exact percentage number have gotten a bit out of hand. The reality is that that political polls from reputable pollsters tend to be extremely accurate. That is why we have polling and why campaigns spend a fair amount of money on them. Public opinion polling works.

If you do just a simple average of the polls of reputable pollsters you tend to get a slightly better result since you are drawing from a large sample size, but the improvement is marginal. The result is something that will get well over 90 percent of races correct. Many of these aggregators try to do ever better by adjusting for things like house bias or running thousands of simulations, but the net impact these added elements make is so small it is hard to tell if they actually are improvements or just making their models look more sophisticated.

At the moment most of these polling sites differ by only a few percentage points in any given race and the difference between them will likely get much smaller as we get closer to the election and see more polls in each race. While some models will probably be labeled as the “winner” because the day before the election they said there was a 53 percent chance of Democrats winning the closest race while other put it only at 48 percent, you can’t really know if one was closer because of skill or luck without a sample size of hundreds of extremely close races, which we will never have.

While a definitive sounding percentage seems to have really triggered something in the mind of readers, the small sample size of really close races means these numbers will never be truly tested to that level of accuracy. They are providing a very good ballpark number but a quick reading of all public polling would do that too.

No One Should Get Basic Rights Until Dana Milbank Is Allowed to Break Traffic Laws

By: Tuesday September 16, 2014 3:21 pm

Dana Milbank

One of the greatest disgraces in this country is that the over 600,000 people living in Washington D.C. are denied enfranchisement. They can’t vote for Congress or set their own laws without Congressional approval. Yet apparently Dana Milbank’s thinks denying over a half million people this basic human right is okay, because they won’t let him off the hook for breaking traffic laws. From Milbank:

A week later, I got another “Notice of Infraction” — this one saying I had run a red light a few blocks away. I had made a legal right on red after a slow-rolling stop — but I got a $150 ticket, same as if I had blown straight through the intersection at full speed. A police spokeswoman said my actions justified both tickets. [...]

D.C. officials testified before a Senate committee Monday afternoon about their desire for statehood. I’m sympathetic, but statehood is not going to happen anytime soon — nor should it, if the government runs the place like a banana republic. Clearly, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier isn’t for reform; she called the IG report “flawed” and “sensationalist.” If the D.C. Council can’t get itself in line with the rest of the country (council member Mary Cheh is having a hearing on the report next week), perhaps Congress can force a change.

As morally reprehensible is it for Milbank to even suggest it is acceptable to deny the vote to the predominately African-American population of the District over a few traffic tickets, I do applaud his honesty. It provides a perfect example of what opposition to D.C. statehood is really about.

Members of Congress oppose giving this minority-heavy population basic rights because they don’t think they can be trusted to vote “correctly.” At their core it is a bunch of rich guys who thinks it is more important to be able to get their way than upholding the core principles of fairness and democracy. Opposition by politicians shows all their talk about how they love liberty, freedom and democracy it total lie.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Milbank’s won’t even defend your right to vote unless you waive his traffic fines.

Kansas Senate: Incumbent Republican Pat Roberts Might Actually Lose

By: Tuesday September 16, 2014 11:40 am

It appears the decision by Democrat Chad Taylor to drop out of the Kansas Senate racecould cost incumbent Republicans Senator Pat Roberts his job. The first two polls conducted after the announcement had Independent Greg Orman in the lead. A poll last week by SurveyUSA for KSN found Orman with 37 percent of likely voters, [...]

GOP Leads in Three New Generic Ballot Polls

By: Friday September 12, 2014 1:08 pm

Things are starting to look bad for Democrats. Three new polls all show Republicans winning the generic ballot among likely voters, a clear uptick from past trends. If the election was held today according to the ABC/Washington Post poll 47 percent of likely voters would back a Republican and only 44 percent would vote for [...]

Alaskans Turn Against Both Parties as Local Democrats Embrace an Independent Candidate

By: Friday September 12, 2014 11:35 am

The number of Alaskans who identify with either major party has reached a new low. From Gallup: This is particularly interesting in light of the fact that recently Democrats in the state abandoned their own bid for governor to instead back an independent Bill Walker. That move turned what should of been a easy victory [...]

A Surprisingly Weak Primary Victory for Andrew Cuomo

By: Wednesday September 10, 2014 10:36 am

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) won his primary and will very likely go on to win re-election as governor, but it was an ugly victory. With 98.3 percent of precincts reporting Cuomo took 62.1 percent of the primary vote compared to 34.2 percent for his main opponent Zephyr Teachout, who ran to his left. [...]

Our Unrepresentative House Is a Problem Easily Solved

By: Monday September 8, 2014 3:18 pm

A new round of blog debates about whether Democrats’ biggest problem in the House has been Republican gerrymandering or the fact that Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas was started by Nate Cohn writing Why Democrats Can’t Win the House. He puts most of the blame on urban concentration. Writers like David [...]

All Federal Politics Is National

By: Monday September 8, 2014 11:46 am

Over the weekend there were a slew of new polls from NBC/Marist and CBS News/New York Time/YouGov covering every single senate race and they almost all fit a clear and simple pattern. In states that traditionally go Republican in Presidential elections the Republican Senate candidates hold the lead, while Democrats are ahead in the states [...]

An Ebb Election, Not a Wave Election

By: Friday September 5, 2014 12:26 pm

This year’s shaping up to be a very good year for Senate Republicans as they expect to win several seats, but that is not the same as a wave election. There are basically two ways for a political party to win a large number of seats. They can dramatically outperform historic norms and win races [...]

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